Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Domaine de l'Oratoire Saint Martin Cairanne Prestige, 1998

This wine is a continuing confirmation of my high regard for the 1998 vintage in the Southern Rhone. I've enjoyed Domaine l'Oratoire Saint Martin nearly every vintage since the early 1990s and found that in most vintages the wine has seen its best by age six to eight. The 1998 continues to improve.

The color is a deep ruby. It's been a couple of years since I've visited this wine, and the bouquet is deeper and broader than I remember. More black fruit tones and more Syrah and Mourvedre qualities are now present. Vibrant cherries on a broad foundation of spices and Provencal herbs. Very deep. Deep berry fruit, cassis, a slight tingle of volatility but no alcoholic heat (13.5%). Remarkable depth. A good example of the domaine and the vintage.

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